[Federal Register Volume 67, Number 16 (Thursday, January 24, 2002)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 3465-3468]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 02-1752]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation

33 CFR Part 401

[Docket No. SLSDC 2002-11358]
RIN 2135-AA13


Seaway Regulations and Rules: Ballast Water

AGENCY: Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation, DOT.

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking.

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SUMMARY: The Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (SLSDC) and 
the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC) of Canada, under 
international agreement, jointly publish and presently administer the 
St. Lawrence Seaway Regulations and

[[Page 3466]]

Rules (Practices and Procedures in Canada) in their respective 
jurisdictions. Under agreement with the SLSMC, the SLSDC is proposing 
to amend the joint regulations to make compliance with applicable Great 
Lakes shipping industry codes for ballast water management practices a 
mandatory prerequisite for clearance of a commercial vessel for transit 
of the Seaway system in support of assuring the continued control of 
the introduction of aquatic nuisance species (ANS) in the Great Lakes 
Seaway System.

DATES: Any party wishing to present views on the proposed amendments 
may file comments with the Corporation on or before February 25, 2002.

ADDRESSES: Signed, written comments should refer to the docket number 
appearing at the top of this document and must be submitted to the 
Docket Clerk, U.S. DOT Dockets, Room PL-401, 400 Seventh Street, SW., 
Washington, DC 20590-0001. Written comments may also be submitted 
electronically at http: //dmses.dot.gov/oubmit/BlankDSS.asp. All 
comments received will be available for examination between 9 a.m. and 
5 p.m., E.T., Monday through Friday, except federal holidays. Those 
desiring notification of receipt of comments must include a self-
addressed, stamped envelope or postcard.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Marc C. Owen, Chief Counsel, Saint 
Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation, 400 Seventh Street, SW., 
Washington, DC 20590, (202) 366-6823.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Saint Lawrence Seaway Development 
Corporation (SLSDC)and the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation 
(SLSMC)of Canada, under international agreement, jointly publish and 
presently administer the St. Lawrence Seaway Regulations and Rules 
(Practices and Procedures in Canada) in their respective jurisdictions. 
Under agreement with the SLSMC, the SLSDC is proposing to amend the 
joint regulations to make compliance with applicable Great Lakes 
shipping industry codes for ballast water management practices a 
mandatory prerequisite for clearance of a commercial vessel for transit 
of the Seaway system in support of assuring the continued control of 
the introduction of aquatic nuisance species (ANS) in the Great Lakes 
Seaway System. This requirement would go into effect beginning in the 
2002 navigation season. This will be in addition to the existing U.S. 
and Canadian legal ballast water requirements as well as the tremendous 
amount of undertakings at the international, national, and regional 
levels by government and the private sector regarding control of ANS. 
This rule is one more effort in the commitment of many to find a cost-
effective solution that protects the Great Lakes Seaway System from ANS 
while facilitating commerce.
    Specifically, the SLSDC, along with the SLSMC, proposes to amend 
the Seaway Regulations and Rules in Part 401 of title 33 of the Code of 
Federal Regulations by adding a new subsection (d) to ``.30, ``quate 
ballast and proper trim,'' which section would be retitled Sec. llast 
water and trim.'' This new subsection would require that, to obtain 
clearance to transit the Seaway, every vessel entering the Seaway must 
agree to comply with the applicable, existing industry ballast water 
management practices while operating anywhere within the Great Lakes 
and the Seaway. This involves two types of vessels and two codes of 
practice respectively. Every vessel entering the Seaway after operating 
beyond the exclusive economic zone must agree to comply with the ``Code 
of Best Practices for Ballast Water Management'' of the Shipping 
Federation of Canada dated September 28, 2000. That code reads as 
follows:

    Recognizing that discharge of ballast water from ships is viewed 
as a principle vector for the introduction and spread of harmful 
aquatic organisms and pathogens,
    Recognizing the role shipowners and vessel operators can play in 
minimizing the introduction and spread of non-indigenous organisms 
and protecting the Great Lakes waters,
    Considering the current status of technology for the treatment 
of ballast water and the need to develop standards against which to 
measure efficiency of management procedures;
    Vessels entering into the Great Lakes commit to the following 
Code of best Practices For Ballast Water Management.
    1. To conduct ballast water management whenever practical and at 
every opportunity even if the vessel is not bound for a port where 
such a procedure may be required. This process will ensure that 
residual ballast on board will, to the greatest extent possible, be 
subjected to these practices. This process will also aid to minimize 
sediment accumulations in ballast tanks, and where mid-ocean 
exchange is practiced, subject fresh-water organisms to an extended 
exposure to salt water.
    Where mid-ocean ballast water exchange is the, or one of the 
management practices used as required by IMO, USCG, Canadian or 
other regulations, the safety of the ship shall be a top priority 
and management shall be practiced according to recognized safe 
practices.
    2. To regular inspection of ballast tanks and removal of 
sediment, if necessary, to at least the level comparable to that 
required by the vessel's Classification Society in order to conduct 
a ``close-up'' Enhanced Survey, Ballast Tank Structural and Coating 
Inspection.
    3. To ballast water exchange procedures as provided for in US 
legislation and approved and enforced through United States Coast 
Guard Regulations.
    4. To record keeping and reporting according to United States 
Coast Guard Regulations (ballast water report forms)--the master to 
record all uptake and discharge of ballast water in an appropriate 
log book; Ballast Water Report Forms to be completed and submitted 
as per Regulations; inspection and cleaning of ballast tanks to be 
recorded and records to be made available to inspectors upon 
request.
    5. To provide information and logs to authorized inspectors and 
regulators for the purposes of verifying the vessel's compliance 
with this Code of Best Practices.
    6. To apply a precautionary approach in the uptake of ballast 
water by minimizing ballasting operations under the following 
conditions:
    a. In areas identified in connection with toxic algal blooms, 
outbreaks of known populations of harmful aquatic organisms and 
pathogens, sewage outfalls and dredging activity.
    b. In darkness, when bottom dwelling organisms may rise in the 
water column.
    c. In very shallow water.
    d. Where a ship's propellers may stir up sediment.
    e. In areas with naturally high levels of suspended sediments, 
e.g. river mouths, and delta areas, or in locations that have been 
affected significantly by soil erosion from inland drainage.
    f. In areas where harmful aquatic organisms or pathogens are 
known to occur.
    7. To the disposal of accumulated sediments as provided for in 
the existing IMO Ballast Water Protocols during ocean passages 
outside International Ballast Water Management Areas or as otherwise 
approved by Port State Authorities.
    8. To foster and support scientific research sampling programs 
and analysis--Facilitate access to on board sampling and testing of 
ballast water and sediment including opening of ballast tank covers 
and safe access to ballast tanks following safety procedures for 
entering enclosed spaces. Sampling, testing and inspection to be 
planned and coordinated to fit within vessels' operational programs 
and minimize any delays.
    9. To cooperate and participate in standards development and 
treatment systems testing and approval processes, including, but not 
limited to mechanical management and treatment systems, and 
pesticide management systems as well as improved techniques for 
ballast water exchange and their scientific assessment.
    10. To strive toward global, integrated ballast water management 
strategies in conformity with internationally agreed principles that 
respect national and regional aquatic ecosystems. This Code of Best 
Practices is endorsed by the undersigned and represents our common 
goal to attain the highest standards of safe ballast water 
management to minimize the introduction

[[Page 3467]]

and spread of aquatic nuisance species in the Great Lakes.

    These Federation practices already cover approximately 95% of the 
commercial oceangoing vessels using the Seaway.
    Every other vessel entering the Seaway that operates within the 
Great Lakes and the Seaway must agree to comply with the ``Voluntary 
Management Practices to Reduce the Transfer of Aquatic Nuisance Species 
Within the Great Lakes by U.S. and Canadian Domestic Shipping'' of the 
Lake Carriers Association and Canadian Shipowners Association dated 
January 26, 2001. That code reads as follows:

    Owners and operators of vessels that trade within the Great 
Lakes and the St. Lawrence Waterway and do not go out beyond the 
Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) recognize their role in reducing the 
risk of transfer of Aquatic Nuisance Species. Introduction of 
Aquatic Nuisance Species into the Great Lakes has taken place by 
ships operating outside the EEZ and has caused ecosystem and 
economic damage. The co-sponsors of this voluntary plan will take 
management action to reduce the risk of transferring these species. 
This plan will apply to U.S and Canadian vessels that operate 
entirely within the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Waterway. Design, 
construction, and structural criteria on some vessels may require 
consideration and variance from this management practice; however, 
efforts will be made to comply wherever possible.
    For All Vessels Operating Totally Within the Great Lakes and St. 
Lawrence Waterway System.
    None of these practices will be undertaken if the master feels 
the safety of crew or ship will be compromised
    1. Vessel operators will assist in developing programs such as 
the Duluth-Superior Harbor and Alpena, Michigan Ruffe Voluntary 
Ballast Management Programs should U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or 
an equivalent Canadian authority determine a nuisance species has 
established niche communities in a specific harbor, providing that 
these programs will result in substantial prevention of the spread 
of the species or harmful organism via ballast water.
    2. Each vessel will perform annual inspections to assess 
sediment accumulations. Removal of sediment, if necessary, will be 
carried out. Records of these actions will be kept onboard the ship.
    3. Each company will develop sediment removal policies and 
plans.
    4. When practical and safe, vessels will take only the minimum 
amount of ballast required to safely depart the dock and will 
complete ballasting in deeper water. Records of all ballasting 
operations will be kept onboard the ship.
    5. Cooperation will be provided, as mutually agreed upon, for 
scientific research into sampling and analysis programs that will 
not interfere with normal and safe ship operations.
    6. Cooperation will be provided, as mutually agreed upon, for 
developing and testing ballast water treatment systems.
    7. Cooperation will be provided toward harmonization of regional 
ballast water practices.

    These rules already cover nearly 100% of the commercial non-
oceangoing vessels (lakers) using the Seaway.
    The texts of both of these codes would be printed in the ``Seaway 
Handbook,'' which is distributed to Seaway users by the SLSMC and the 
SLSDC and is also posted on the joint ``Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway 
System Web'' site, which can be found at http://www.greatlakes-
seaway.com/en/pdf/handbook.pdf. If promulgated, the SLSDC and the SLSMC 
will assess the effectiveness of this regulation after the 2002 Seaway 
navigation season.

Regulatory Evaluation

    This proposed regulation involves a foreign affairs function of the 
United States and therefore Executive Order 12866 does not apply. This 
proposed regulation has also been evaluated under the Department of 
Transportation's Regulatory Policies and Procedures and the proposed 
regulation is not considered significant under those procedures and its 
economic impact is expected to be so minimal that a full economic 
evaluation is not warranted.

Regulatory Flexibility Act Determination

    The Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation certifies that 
this proposed regulation will not have a significant economic impact on 
a substantial number of small entities. The St. Lawrence Seaway Tariff 
of Tolls primarily relates to commercial users of the Seaway, the vast 
majority of whom are foreign vessel operators. Therefore, any resulting 
costs will be borne mostly by foreign vessels.

Environmental Impact

    This proposed regulation does not require an environmental impact 
statement under the National Environmental Policy Act (49 U.S.C. 
4321,et seq.) because it is not a major federal action significantly 
affecting the quality of human environment. The environmental 
considerations applicable to the basic substance of this proposed 
regulation are essentially discussed in the U.S. Coast Guard's 
Environmental Assessment for its May 17, 1999, ``Implementation of the 
National Invasive Species Act of 1996'' rulemaking (64 FR 26672).

Federalism

    The Corporation has analyzed this proposed rule under the 
principles and criteria in Executive Order 13132, dated August 4, 1999, 
and has determined that this proposal does not have sufficient 
federalism implications to warrant a Federalism Assessment.

Unfunded Mandates

    The Corporation has analyzed this proposed rule under title II of 
the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-4, 109 Stat. 48) 
and determined that it does not impose unfunded mandates on State, 
local, and tribal governments and the private sector requiring a 
written statement of economic and regulatory alternatives.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    This proposed regulation has been analyzed under the Paperwork 
Reduction Act of 1995 and does not contain new or modified information 
collection requirements subject to the Office of Management and Budget 
review.

List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 401

    Hazardous materials transportation, Navigation (water), Penalties, 
Radio, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Vessels, Waterways.
    Accordingly, the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation 
proposes to amend 33 CFR chapter IV as follows:

PART 401--SEAWAY REGULATIONS AND RULES

Subpart A--[Amended]

    1. The authority citation for subpart A of part 401 would continue 
to read as follows:

    Authority: 33 U.S.C. 983(a) and 984(a)(4), as amended; 49 CFR 
1.52, unless otherwise noted.

    2. Sec. 401.30 would be amended by revising the heading and by 
adding a new paragraph (d) to read as follows:


Sec. 401.30  Ballast water and trim.

* * * * *
    (d) Beginning in the 2002 navigation season, to obtain clearance to 
transit the Seaway:
    (1) Every vessel entering the Seaway after operating beyond the 
exclusive economic zone must agree to comply with the ``Code of Best 
Practices for Ballast Water Management'' of the Shipping Federation of 
Canada dated September 28, 2000, while operating anywhere within the 
Great Lakes and the Seaway; and
    (2) Every other vessel entering the Seaway that operates within the 
Great

[[Page 3468]]

Lakes and the Seaway must agree to comply with the ``Voluntary 
Management Practices to Reduce the Transfer of Aquatic Nuisance Species 
Within the Great Lakes by U.S. and Canadian Domestic Shipping'' of the 
Lake Carriers Association and Canadian Shipowners Association dated 
January 26, 2001, while operating anywhere within the Great Lakes and 
the Seaway.

    Issued at Washington, D.C. on January 18, 2002.

Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation.
Marc C. Owen,
Chief Counsel.
[FR Doc. 02-1752 Filed 1-18-02; 2:26 pm]
BILLING CODE 4910-61-P